SunLife has launched a new advertising campaign in Canada. Because I couldn’t find it online, I’ll briefly describe it to you. A couple sitting in their kitchen start singing “If I only had a plan” to the tune of the song, If I Only had a Brain, from the Wizard of Oz. Then their financial advisor joins them singing and dancing.
It reminds me of an old advertising saying, if you don’t have anything new to say, sing it. There is no point of difference, no target market, no clear positioning, no evidence of an advertising strategy at all.
Whenever I see or hear this ad, all I think is that SunLife is for brainless people. And, because they used music so effectively, this is firmly wedged in my mind. (FYI, music has been shown to increase recall, so you need to be very cautious when using it.)
Does SunLife think its customers are brainless? Probably not. The nature of the financial advice business revolves around the relationship between advisor and customer. If the company doesn’t respect you, you’re not likely to work with them.
Yet I now think that SunLife believes that I’m brainless. Maybe other people don’t think like me. All I can say is that I hope they tested this spot before airing it. It has all the earmarks of a branding disaster.